Community is important to Brett Rheeder.
The pro-mountain biker turned founder got into the sport as a child, and his passion for it has only grown from there, as you can tell by the many titles he’s racked up for himself, including Red Bull Rampage Champion, and X Games gold medalist. When this decorated athlete set out to start his own bike company Title, he knew that giving back to the community that gave him so much would be a foundational pillar of their culture.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Brett to chat about how he got his start and to learn how he draws inspiration for the direction he’s taking Title.
How did you get into mountain biking?
Growing up in a rural neighbourhood, you need to learn to keep yourself occupied. Some kids choose skateboarding, for others, it’s team sports, and for myself, I chose to ride my bike. I quickly found myself jumping off curbs, which eventually led me to mountain biking. My family was into biking so that helped get me into the sport. Around the age of 13, I discovered competitions and started looking up to notable athletes and learning from them while I was competing. By the time I was 16 I travelled to my first competition, and instantly became hooked.
What is Title?
Title is a mountain bike component brand. I’ve built it with the knowledge I’ve gained as a professional in the sport. It’s progressed from producing a handlebar with clean styling into sketches and prototypes of stems, saddles, seat posts and eventually, wheels.
What made you want to create a brand?
The purpose of Title is to give back to the community. I’m motivated by the idea of creating good for everyone so I wanted to create a brand that would make an impact in the biking industry. For instance, through Title I want to create revenue that makes trails for parks, creates jobs for people who love the sport, or helps bike stores generate revenue. I want Title to be more than just a brand that sells products.
How does the brand represent you?
I designed all the products to be minimalistic, clean, and powerful. The components are strong and well tested. A lot of work went into creating everything, which is why it took 2 years to fully develop. You can say that the way I designed the products is an interpretation of myself.
What was it like to launch a brand during COVID-19?
Scary! I didn’t know what was going to happen and thought all this hard work could come to an end right at the start. It took us 2 years to develop the brand, and it got to a point where I felt a need to launch it. I didn’t want it to sit on the back burner any longer, especially since we were paying athletes to use and test the products. I got to a point where I just felt it was time. It is interesting, no one knew what was going on with the industry, but a couple of months into COVID, and before Title was launched, we found out the industry was up 30 – 40%. Everyone was buying bikes during the pandemic.
What does Title look like in 5 years from now?
Good question – my mentor asks me this a lot. He has been showing me what the path to success would look like, which has been a good eye-opener. I try not to set my goals too far ahead though, since there is already a lot of work to do that’s right in front of me. To answer your question though, there will be a wider range of products, and we’ll have the best products on the market for mountain biking components.
You mentioned you have a mentor, who else do you look up to?
I’m inspired by Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia), Phil Knight (founder of Nike), and Gary Erikson (founder of Clif Bar). They have all built their companies from the ground up and built them for the communities they are serving. I look up to people who do something for the greater good, as opposed to for themselves. I also read all sorts of books on business, so I find a lot of inspiration in that as well.
If you were to give one piece of advice to someone wanting to start their own brand what would that be?
I would say, you need to be passionate about what you’re selling. Make sure it is something you love, and a true passion of yours. If you are getting into it to be rich, you’re dreaming.